In their last match of the World University Summer Games, the USA fell just short of Japan, 10-5, in the 9th place match. The USA ends their Russian campaign with a 1-4 record.
There were only 10 teams in the competition, so the top eight after pool play qualified for the quarterfinals. Japan had gone winless in Pool A, while the USA finished 1-3 in Pool B, getting their lone win against Italy in round two (coincidentally, the one team that the USA beat is heading to the final). Both sides struggled to express themselves on offense, as Japan managed only three tries through pool play, while the USA did slightly better with six.
That, combined with desperate defenses, produced a scoreless first half during the 9th place match earlier today. The teams started to chip away at each other in the second stanza, but it was Japan who ended on top. Tries from Noriko Taniguchi and Chisato Yokoo were good enough to beat Erika Pedersen’s five-pointer, and 9th place belonged to Japan.
On the opposite end of the competition, Russia and Italy are poised for the title bout tomorrow, while Canada and Great Britain vie for third. Host Russia is the heavy favorite to take home the inaugural gold medal and has run into little resistance en route to the final. The hosts have outscored opponents 188-22, and it’s no surprise: All but one player was on the Rugby World Cup Sevens squad that competed in Moscow in late June. That team went toe-to-toe with adult, full-time athletes and bowed out during the Plate semifinals (losing 7-5 to Australia). If Russia doesn’t keep the gold medal on home turf, it will be a huge upset.
The final matches occur tomorrow. For a full schedule and results, visit here. For a recap of the USA’s pool play performance, visit here.
USA Roster and Stats
Sadie Anderson, Penn State – 10 pts (2 Tries)
Ryan Carlyle, South Carolina – 5 pts (1 Try)
Nicole Castro, Navy
Kacey Liscomb, Navy – 5 pts (1 Try)
Erika Pedersen, Navy – 5 pts (1 Try)
Lauren Rhode, Princeton – 7 pts (1 Try, 1 Conversion)
Riacca Slater, Navy
Katherine Smith, Navy
Siera Snapp, Navy – 5 pts (1 Try)